For me, fairy tales are powerful stories that teach children important life lessons through
magic, love, and fear. Their power is timeless, although the details have strayed through the ages.
Changes in norms of appropriateness and recent revisions by Walt Disney have muddled these
tales over time.
My work shows these tales in the contexts of their earliest publications. For example,
Beauty and the Beast originated in France during the Rococo period. Using portrait paintings of
the period as references, I have portrayed Belle in period appropriate costume. I feel this
combined with visual references to real girls adds authenticity to my work.
I have sculpted five iconic girls from popular fairy tales in moments where they make
pivotal mistakes. These mistakes highlight critical flaws within each character. My sculptures
show these girls at their most vulnerable moments, before they overcome their flaws and
transition into womanhood.
I chose clay to produce my sculptures because of the versatility of the medium. I have
used clay’s ability to mimic materials and textures to create whimsical allusions of fabric, fur,
and skin. I have also incorporated real objects into my sculptures to represent the symbolic
power of these tales. These objects embody concepts that many girls have desired throughout
history: beauty, faithfulness, family, friendship, and strength. The use of mixed media has
allowed me to accurately portray these characters while expressing my artistic interpretations of
Children are drawn to fairy tales through their connection with a character’s innocence,
curiosity, and trepidation. Mistakes and vulnerability make a character seem human, and their
victories show children that they too can triumph. Through ceramic and mixed media sculptures
I have portrayed these timeless themes for all ages to identify with.
– Sara E. Morales Morgan, May 2012